Want to bail out before the lease is up? It is necessary to know your rights, the landlord’s rights, and the best way to break a lease (with minimum legal penalties).
The process can be summarized as follows:
- Understand the legal reasons for contract termination.
- Provide a notice to the landlord before leaving.
Understand Legal Reasons to End Tenancy
The following reasons let you end an agreement without incurring penalty costs. However, there is still a compensation fee of 1-6 weeks in rent, depending on the time of termination.
Landlord’s Breach of Agreement
Breaches range from landlords interfering with your privacy to refusing to fix damaged property items.
They also include landlords hiding crucial information about the property before renting out the property.
Rent Increase within a 2-year Period
Those only apply to fixed-term leases, where the rent is already specified for the contract period.
Termination under Extraordinary Grounds
Like rent increases, the extraordinary circumstances only apply to fixed-term leases.
Those include but not limited to mental health problems, moving to aged care homes, or chronic illnesses that require relocation.
Property becomes Unusable
This includes damage by natural disasters (fires, floods, earthquakes), or a forced acquisition by the government.
Unusable property contracts can be terminated without notice.
Rules on Writing Termination Notices
You will need to provide a “notice to vacate” before leaving the property. The required notice timeframe differs depending on the state, which may range from 7 to 28 days.
Be sure to check your state laws for more information. Also be sure to account for the notice delivery period, which can be up to 7 days.
Important Rules to Consider:
- Notices must be provided in writing, by you.
- Must include the exact address of the premises.
- Must include the day which you will leave.
- Must include the reason for termination.
The notice needs to be sent to the landlord (or their legal agent) by email, delivered in person, or sent to their mailbox. Be sure to keep a copy for yourself, in addition to a record of the delivery method and date.
Can I break a lease without a legal reason?
Yes, but this is quite costly. You will have to pay a penalty as specified in the contract or by the court.
However, you can try to find a replacement tenant, but this shall require the landlord’s approval.
At first have a discussion with your property manager and see if you can work something out that benefits both parties.